Sunday, May 20, 2012

Working secrets of ad men

Legendary ad man David Ogilvy lays out his working methods in this letter, a response to a query about how he goes about writing copy. My favorite excerpt: 
 9. If all else fails, I drink half a bottle of rum and play a Handel oratorio on the gramophone. This generally produces an uncontrollable gush of copy.
10. The next morning I get up early and edit the gush.
I'm totally with him on Handel, but I'm not so sure about the rum! Are you a fan of Mad Men? I can't fathom how they can down so much booze and still think.
Going back further in time, I recently came across this vintage ad. When you have such a vision of pulchritude, I guess you don't need much copy. I'd totally buy an ice cream freezer if this fair maiden cast her beseeching gaze my way!
Back to Letters of Note, which is an estimable website, full of varied bon bons. In this letter, Harper Lee most deliciously tells off some yahoos who banned To Kill a Mockingbird from school libraries.


  1. Pembley PentangleMay 21, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    I feel like some of the nuances and subtle meanings inferred by that letter may have been lost on its addressees. But it was fun to read!! :-D

    Honestly, a half bottle of rum would probably cause some sort of uncontrollable gush on my part. It's healthy to see that that avenue arrives at number NINE on the list at least.

  2. Nice post...Harper Lee's letter was great! I stumbled around that website for a while after, and there are some really fanastic letters on there. I especially enjoyed this letter from Pixar to a fan: